Wearing a black face mask, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba walked to the podium to announce new restrictions related to the COVID-19 virus.
On June 30, the mayor, flanked by members of his COVID task force and the city attorney, said that starting July 2, residents will be required to wear face coverings in public indoor and outdoor places.
Meanwhile, businesses now must require employees and patrons to wear face coverings, or face temporary closure.
Individuals who fail to comply could face a fine of $300, or up to six months in jail.
Those required to wear a mask include those who are unable to social distance or who do not have a barrier, such as a glass divider, in between themselves and others. Individuals who are exercising outside or who are in their homes are also not required to wear the coverings.
“We have identified the fact that far too many of our residents have been taking a lackadaisical approach to wearing facial coverings in our city,” Lumumba said. “Far too many have not taken this critical, deadly virus seriously.”
Meanwhile, he urges the governor, as well as leaders of other municipalities, to also require residents to wear masks.
“It makes us safer at the end of the day. We don’t want you to contract anything in Jackson, and we don’t want you to contract anything and bring it to Jackson.”
Lumumba said the city, working with the COVID task force and city attorney, crafted this order to protect residents, while at the same time avoid closing the city again.
The mayor said he also has spoken to mayors in other cities, including in Montgomery, where leaders have imposed similar guidelines.
He said the measure is not political. “This is not a political issue, if you disagree with my politics, by all means wear a mask and disagree with me another day. We’re asking people to take proper precautions to take care of themselves and their families.”
Under provisions of the measure, individuals will be required to wear a mask or covering in public places, both indoor and outdoor, according to City Attorney Tim Howard.
Commercial entities must require all customers to wear face coverings or face temporary closures.
“If the commercial entity fails to comply, then the commercial entity could face closure, a 24-hour period of closure,” Howard said.
Business owners would then have to file notice with the city that they had read the mayor’s executive order regarding face coverings and that the business would come into compliance.
“The focal point of this executive order is not to be punitive but to save lives, particularly those who live in this great city,” Howard said.
As of 6 p.m. June 29, 680 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the state, including 14 deaths. The total number of cases for the state had surpassed the 27,000-mark, with 27,247 cases reported.
In Hinds County, 2,111 cases had been reported, including 39 deaths, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
To help businesses comply, Visit Jackson will be providing masks and hand sanitizer free of charge to businesses and attractions. For more information, log onto visitjackson.com.
Meanwhile, the city has provided some 12,000 tests, purchased rooms to allow people to quarantine themselves from families if they have been infected, started a hotline to help those who believe they have the virus, and a warm line to help those who are suffering from mental issues as a result of the virus.
Click here to read a copy of the order: https://www.northsidesun.com/sites/default/files/2020-06/July%202%20order.pdf